Living in a fishbowl

The importance of having someone (or something) to take care of in your new home

My first immersion project in February I moved to Paul Spring alone and I intentionally isolated myself from family, work, cell phone, and my car. Among other lessons I learned, this helped me better understand how much helping other people defines my “purpose” in life. I have written several posts on this topic, here is one that I like.

Having my 6 year old son move with me on my most recent immersion at the Residence of Thomas Circle made for a different experience on many levels. As I reflect on it, the most dramatic difference is that I moved to this new home with someone that NEEDED me. This gave me an important “purpose” but it also prevented me from fully feeling the sense of isolation that I would if I was alone. As unfamiliar as my new home was, I had something to focus on.

I clearly see a difference in these transitions between a resident that moves in alone and one that moves in with a spouse, or even a pet. I feel that many of us derive a sense of purpose through having someone or something that depends on us.

Several years ago I checked into a hotel that asked me if I would like to take care of a Goldfish during my stay. As I reflect on it now, it was very fulfilling to come back to the room and feed the fish. I gave me a sense of purpose while I was out of town in an unfamiliar setting away from my family.

By helping our loved ones find a purpose, whether it be caring for a person, pet or even a plant – we can increase the odds that their new home doesn’t feel like they are living IN the fishbowl and looking out!

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